Passion House Coffee Roasters

Passion House Coffee Roasters, as seen from the other side of Kedzie Avenue in Chicago.Passion House Coffee Roasters has been around and roasting coffee in Chicago for the last seven years, but it’s a name that I only discovered this time last year on my previous visit to Chicago, when I had Passion House’s coffee at Infuse Coffee & Tea Bar, the coffee bar in my office building. Then, earlier this year, I found Passion House in, of all places, Spitfire Coffee in New Orleans, literally at the other end (north-south) of the country.

For most of its seven years, Passion House has made its name as a roaster, but in 2017 it opened its one and only coffee shop in Chicago right by Logan Square. Occupying the ground floor of a long, narrow, old, two storey building, it’s a lovely spot, serving the house-blend, decaf and a single-origin on espresso, plus another house-blend on bulk-brew, with two-single origins on pour-over. Unusually for America, Passion House uses the Marco Beverage Systems SP9 in conjunction with the Fellow Stagg pour-over dripper.

There are five loose-leaf teas, which can be had hot, cold or sparkling, while if you’re hungry, there are pastries, with doughnuts at the weekends, plus two quiches, one meat and one vegetarian.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On North Kedzie Ave, opposite Logan Square station on the Blue Line, is Passion House.
  • The view from straight across the street. Did no-one get the memo about parking?
  • That's a better view.
  • On the other side of the street, approaching from the south.
  • The multi-colour cube hanging above the door is a nice touch.
  • There's a fenced-off seating area outside on the opposite side of the pavement.
  • There's space for ten people, depending on how you arrange the tables/chairs.
  • Inside, the counter, an interesting, curved affair, is on the right-hand side at the front.
  • It's set back from the window, leaving space for a couple of tables to the right of the door.
  • There are also two bar stools down here at the end of the counter.
  • That's it for the front: the rest of the seating is at the back, beyond the counter.
  • There's an eight-person bar along the left-hand wall with high bar stools...
  • ... and a narrow, eight-person table down the middle.
  • Another view of the central table.
  • There's more seating at the back, including this pair of two-person round tables.
  • There's a third, off to the right of this one, which was constantly occupied.
  • Another view of the bar from the back of Passion House...
  • ... while this is a more general view.
  • This is the last of the seating, a solitary single-person table under the neat sign.
  • There are lots of plants on shelves...
  • ... and hanging off hooks on the walls.
  • There's also this plant in the window...
  • ... while what I took to be a hexagon pattern on the wall is, in fact, the cube logo again.
  • There are retail shelves on the wall to the left as you enter, full of bags of coffee...
  • ... and coffee-making equipment, such as these Stagg pour-over fiters from Fellow.
  • The cold brew is on tap at the front of the counter...
  • ... with various coffee beans choices on the wall to the right.
  • The batch-brew filters and kettles for the tea are on the wall behind them...
  • ... while on the counter itself is the cake cabinet...
  • ... along with a couple of choices of quiche (one meat, one vegetarian).
  • After the till, on the curved part of the counter, is the two-group La Marzocco Strada...
  • ... while finally, at the far end, is the pour-over section, with its Marco SP9s & EK-43.
  • The coffee choices are on the wall behind the pour-over section.
  • I decided to have a pour-over from one of the SP9s, made with the Templo de la Luna.
  • It came in a carafe with a lovely-shaped, double-walled snifter glass on the side.
  • All this was served on a hexagonal wooden tray with a neat square of shortbread.
  • I also had a slice of the spinach quiche, served warm, which was lovely.
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Passion House Coffee Roasters is just off Milwaukee Avenue, part of a cluster of coffee shops around Logan Square that I visited last Sunday, including Buzz Coffee Roaster & Baker, Intelligentsia and Gas Light. It’s on North Kedzie Avenue, directly opposite the Logan Square metro and bus station, with a fenced-off outdoor seating area on the far side of the pavement, where there are four tables (and ten chairs) all lined up in a row.

The front of Passion House is entirely glass, with inset glass double doors on the left. Inside, it’s split into two, the front section occupied by the counter and a minimal amount of seating, the bulk of which is to the rear. The counter’s set back from the window on the right, leaving space for a pair of two-person tables. There are also two stools at the front of the counter, a sinuous, curvy affair that gets wider towards the back. The till’s on the front curve, along with the cakes, followed by three grinders (house, decaf, single-origin) and a two-group La Marzocco Strada. This is on a curved section at 45⁰ to the rest of the counter. Finally, at the back, are twin SP9s and an EK-43 grinder.

Opposite the counter, on the left-hand wall, is a set of retail shelves, beyond which, Passion House widens slightly on the left, but what it gains as a result is more than lost on the right, where a series of enclosed rooms running along the right-hand wall behind the counter, starting with the toilet and continuing with two staff-only rooms.

There’s a long, stand-alone bar along the left-hand wall with eight bar stools, while an eight-person communal table with low chairs occupies the centre. A pair of two-person round tables, each with one chair and one low stool, are between the doors to the right.  A fire exit occupies the back wall on the right, with a narrow window in the centre, another two-person table in front of it, and a final two-person table in the left-hand corner.

The ceilings are very high, with white-washed brick walls, a wooden floor and wooden tables, offset by white chairs and exposed air-conditioning ducts. With the windows at the front, it’s very bright, although there are plenty of lights, particularly over the counter.

Passion House roasts all its own coffee, Phoam (espresso) and PH (bulk-brew) blends joined by rotating single-origins. The espresso changes weekly, while the pour-over options changing every two or three weeks.

Having not seen an SP9 before in America, I had to have a pour-over, the barista recommending the direct trade Peruvian Templo de la Luna. It was the last of the lot, so you’ll have to wait until next year if you want to try it.

Even newer to me was the filter method used in the SP9, the Fellow Stagg pour-over dripper. A steep-sided, flat-bottomed, double-walled cone, this gives, according to Passion House, excellent reliability and thermal stability during brewing. Based on what I had, it lived up to its billing, the coffee proving to be very smooth, delicate and drinkable, maturing considerably as it cooled.

This was served in a small, Chemex-shaped glass carafe, a doubled-walled glass on the side. This had a cylindrical outer section and a matching, Chemex-shaped interior. All this came on a lozenge-shaped wooden tray with a small square of shortbread embossed with the letters PH, which was delivered to my table at the back. It’s these little touches that I love.

I also had a slice of the spinach quiche, served warm. Quiche, when done well, is a wonderful dish for a coffee shop and this was done very well indeed.

2631 NORTH KEDZIE AVENUE • CHICAGO • IL 60647 • USA +1 847-224-6993
Monday 07:30 – 19:00 Roaster Passion House (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:30 – 19:00 Seating Tables, Bars; Tables (outside)
Wednesday 07:30 – 19:00 Food Lunch, Cakes
Thursday 07:30 – 19:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:30 – 19:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 08:00 – 20:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 08:00 – 20:00 Power Yes
Chain No Visits 26th August 2018

You can see what fellow coffee blogger, Bex, made of Passion House, which is in her guide, Nine Speciality Coffee Shops To Try in Chicago.

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